Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Confinement after Childbirth: Malay-Kelantanese Style

My confinement experience is solely based on what has been practised in the family. There are always similarities from other parts of Kelantan, but some parts may differ! Ingredients used in the diet and the other practises are said to be having healing properties but scientific evidence won't be given as the author is too lazy to do the research or look for more info.

Cheh...I never thought I would take blogging so seriously, especially when I have to ignore that 'look' that my mom gave when she saw me snapping photos of her 'tungku' etc.

To me, anticipation to receive a new baby to the family is always accompanied by the anxiety to face two challenges: the labour pain and the confinement!

With Bea1, the labour lasted for 26 hours. One thing was over followed by another! The confinement lasted for 40 days. People said mothers would forget all about the pain when she sees the baby for the first time. In my case, I once said "For that 40 days in confinement, I'd rather have the labour pain 5 times more".

My sisters said they love confinement as it is 40-day of not lifting a finger to do house chores, taking care of the kids etc. You may agree with them. But before that how about eating ONLY rice and grilled fish for lunch and dinner for the first two weeks.


What I mean by grilled is fish (certain fish only, the non-'gatal' type) smothered with salt and tumeric and grilled in open flame!
Raw young tumeric is also eaten together as 'ulam'. Normally I would throw away my toothbrush as the bristle turned yellowish due to the tumeric.
That drink is some sort of traditional medicine, some roots called 'sipe gederam' cooked in boiled water.

A little variety is added later with beef, again grilled with tumeric and salt. All traces of fat is trimmed, and a lot of times it is hard and 'liat' and soooo goey that it just stays in your mouth forever!


My mother-in-law came to visit us during my confinement with Bea1 and gave a fish recipe to my mom. She uses a lot of black pepper and finally I could have a little gravy. Mom tried to cook it again a few days ago, but I don't know why she is so into tumeric that the thing came out yellow instead of black!

Anyway, I found an article about tumeric being used a lot in confinement here.


Did you notice that no vege or fruit in the pics. That's because none of them is allowed! My mom-in-law (half Javanese) allowed steamed 'sawi' but it is still a no-no to mom.

How do I survive this 'ordeal'? Thank God, Milo is allowed. Very thick Milo and ONLY bun 'kosong' and crackers for breakfast and 'minum petang', and they are heavenly!


I may sound ungrateful, considering that many suffers out there. But seriously I hardly complaint as before I even opened my mouth, mom would start talking how during her time it was very hard to get fresh fish. What was available was dried fish.

We are also bombarded by some gory stories of mothers who did not strictly follow the confinement. One of them is about a mother who ate beef curry, that came with a lot of fat. Her 'thing down there' became wet and smelly all the time that she had to get pregnant, gave birth and do the whole confinement again!

Basically the food should not be fattening, oily, 'sejuk'. As if it works for me, I really can't tell as now in only the second week, I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weigh/figure. And that goes to my waistline too. Mom insisted that it is not only about the figure, but to care 'benda-benda dalam' (sorry don't know how to translate).

Next: 'bertungku' and 'bersalai' plus the conflict with modern medicine

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Birth Story

I know it is kind of slow, but think before I proceed with anything else, this one should go first!

On Thursday, after finding out about the show, we went to see the gynea. Only to be told, not that day but was told that to come back the next day. The plan was simple, I had to be induced! We were supposed to come at 8 am.

Back home, I used the oppurtunity to finish as much chores as possible while the girls used the oppurtunity to turn the playroom that I just clean and tidy up, the night before, upside down again!

Just like any working day, we left the girls at the babysitter's and off we went to the hospital. The staffs said there was no single bedroom available in the ward, so we were asked to go directly to the labour room while waiting for a vacancy.

In there, a nurse handed me the gown. I asked her why so fast, she said it was the doc's order, and she said I should know already! Well, I never knew it was so fast (er...actually I started to chicken out already!).

Enema was given and later the doc came in and said that we were late! Asked her why so fast, she said she thought we all agreed. I jokingly said, it would be nice to choose 15th as the baby's birthday!

At 9.30 am, the doc ruptured the membrane and left. Contractions began but very mild only. Hubby pulled the curtains, got into a comfortable position on the armchair and being a loving and caring husband that he is....dozed off! He even snored. I was a bit annoyed but thinking positively, I just love to have him with me. 10.30 am I asked him to bring the phone to call my mom, expecting some words of encouragement and support! Upon hearing that I was being induced, she was all panicky and said all she knew, the pain would be more intense! Well, that really "helped"!

Hubby then stood beside me and on and off checked on the monitor for my contractions. I asked the nurse, approximately how long it would take. She said, the contractions was mild, so it would take awhile. Asked if we can use one of the power points to recharge the camera batteries, actually I was eager to end it all!

Asked the nurse again for any possibility to make it faster. She suggested the drips and I nodded instantly! The drip was set at 12.00.

And the real thing began! Strong contractions, and tying to be strong I whispered to hubby that soon, very soon we were going to have a baby, a baby that I could bathe in a baby bathtub on the kitchen sink!

But mom's words were stronger, asked to be given pethidine. Hubby said he was sorry that he had forgotten about the breathing techniques that we both used during the birth of the two girls. Told him not to worry about it as I also did not bother about it anymore!

Got completely knocked out, but not during each contractions. Hubby stood by my side and diligently shoved the mask (of the gas) to my face during each contractions. I remember I talked nonsense during labour (with pethidine) with Bea1, but this time around think I behaved myself quite well;). Anyway, I remember getting really annoyed and scolded hubby after "seeing" him doing some jokes. Suddenly I heard him said "Bila pula la abe buat jokes ni...". Haha...I was just too drowsy. I also asked to see my gynea right away, and upon seeing her, with a very stern voice I told her not to laugh at me. It was so embarrasing!

Next thing, I felt to urge to push. Heard people cheering but only hubby's voice was clear. Determined to get it over and done with, I let out a groan (but I's sure it was not that loud as the mask was on my face) and a strong push. Heard hubby said "Can see the baby now!". But I thought how come I did not feel that sensation when the body of the baby was out, and I also wondered why no sound of baby's cry...started to get worried that something was wrong with baby! (What hubyy meant was he saw the head coming out only!)

Shortly after that, I felt the baby's body coming out and the baby's cry, a loud but girlish cry...I knew right away that it was a girl and plop! A baby on my tummy. The very first thing I said was "Alhamdulillah" followed by "Apasal gelap sangat ni?". Ok, I was too drowsy and was a bit blinded by the light! I know the baby would forgive me. Later she was placed on my bare chest for skin to skin contact, according to my gynea. I imagined if I was in a movie, to make it more dramatic, I should shed a tear or two...but heck, I was just happy. Next thing was "Apa lagi abe...ambik la camera".

The same peaditrician came to see us in the ward and annouced that our baby was just perfect, just like with the two girls nearly 4 and 2 years ago. The only difference is now he got "Dato" in front of his name!

Hubby went out to fetch the girls and have his 'buka puasa' and later the girls joined us. Bea1 was ecstatic that finally baby was there, Bea2 could not stop her hands from reaching the baby!

Planned to have the whole family spent the night there but hubby thought it was better for him to bring the girls home. It was pretty nice to spend the night only with the baby, and back home, things were manageable, according to hubby!

Received some visits from friends and a colleague, the next day! Think our room was the noisiest with kids running around.

Checked out at 9.00 pm, and right away drove to my kampung! We chose nighttime as to get the girls to go to sleep. Arrived at 4 am.

In the same room where hubby and I spent our wedding night almost 5 years ago, we shared the queen bed as a family of 5 for the first time. I took some time to ponder, on how my life has changed with the family, hectic life but fulfilling. I don't want it in any other way!

For those who managed to finish reading my essay (I took me 4 days to write), a little reward for you!

See I'm all nice and clean!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

"Hello World"


Mama, papa and the doc "berkomplot" to force me out. I really could not do much...with a loud groan from mama, I was out at 1442 on 14 Oct 2005.

Minutes after queezing myself out of mama, one of the first things that she noticed about me was the lines on my forehead. She was wondering what I had been thinking in the womb...finding ways to stay in there forever, maybe!

Mama says...with a family like this, it was not a surprise at all;)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Counting Down to D Day (Part 5)

Waiting, waiting....

The womb must be the cosiest place on earth!

Ok, I never thought that this counting down thingy would reach Part 5. But with all the excitement (just like the advertisement makan bola, tidur bola...all I think, see, makan, tidur...it is all about baby!) I just can't think of anything else to blog! So, valued readers (ahem, as if I got many!), please bear with me!

I've never been so prepared in my life before, more on the procrastinating side, even with the two girls. Me and the girls will be staying with my parents during my confinement, right away from the hospital. Lots of things have to be done, everything is checked already plus the add-ons:

1. Carseat
2. Bag to bring to the hospital
3. The girls' and my stuffs are all in boxes
4. The girls' baju raya!
5. Journals/reading materials that need to be read during my long break all photocopied and put in a file, now in the car.
6. Camera ready...been lugging it around since last week!
7. When Monday passed without any sign, I sort of talked to the baby...stay in there for awhile, at least till I got to watch another episode of Dr House;) (mom's house got no Astro!)...he/she complied!
8. Clean and sort the girls' toys in the playroom... tiring job. Did that yesterday, took me almost an hour!
9. Iron hubby's working clothing as much as I can

But still....got dirty laundry (but this one sure always got wan!), the floor needs another round of mopping. Anyway, I can rely on hubby to finish the job once he comes back from mom's! Off course he wants to have his family return to a clean house.

Have been having contractions since Monday, and I left the office as if I will return in 2 months time for the past 3 days. Went for another check-up yesterday, did the CTG and the baby is just fine, dilated 1 cm but the doc. said, just wait till I have the signs or the contractions stronger! Took the afternoon off! Had contraction the whole of the afternoon but forced myself to do chores. Contraction was gone till morning!

Hubby suggested that I just stay home but I was just tired of waiting and decided to come to the office and planned to go the library this afternoon! A bit of discussion in the car, and in a jiffy, we decided to return to my previuos gynea (thought of giving birth in UMMC to save money), as we think we are comfortable with her and the environment. The new IKEA bedroom set can wait;)

Babysitter was so surprised to see me driving!

Went to the toilet just now, and came out of it with a broad smile (even though I know PAIN is waiting for me, the first sight of my new baby stands out more)....I have show! Called my gynea, she said she would have to do a check on me! Hubby will be on his way soon! Mr Always-Cool is now in panicky mode...I just lurveeee that, hehe!

Hopefully this is the last part of Counting Down to D Day!

Monday, October 10, 2005


During a relatively good and peaceful playtime:


"I don't think that fits in there, how about this one?"


"You DID it!, yea...." *clap, clap*

Bea2 is beaming with pride!

The reason why mama and papa have to get busy to give them more siblings *sigh*

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Counting Down to D Day (Part 4)

Missing the days of being pregnant!

Spending the last few days of the pregnancy, thought I would blog about missing it. Off course, got "rezeki" I hope I will get pregnant again and again...;)!

I love being pregnant, think a lot of mothers who are pregnant and had gone through that can relate well to it.

Besides having those mushy feeling of having that beautiful tiny creature inside me, seed sowed by two people in love with Allah's will, the kicks/movement, being offered chairs/seats, the look on hubby's face whenever I go "ouch" while holding on the tummy etc, I also love to be able to do this:


"Look mum, no hands";).

I saw Phoebe did that in "Friends" sitcom, and I thought it was fun! And I accidently did that for the first time while having cereal, when pregnant with Bea1.

One hand was on the remote while the other flipping the Astro guide...lovely!

While trying to get the best shot (with both hands, off course), I could feel the baby's hiccups and the mug moved with them...it was FUN!

Note: The mug was only for acting, I puasa tau!

Seriously, I got nothing better to do!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Hubby thinks Bea1 draws cartoon better than me!

Since Bea1 started preschool, she spends the morning in my room in the office, and sometimes lunchtime and afternoon, too. While I work, she spend the time playing or drwaing. So, I have lots of these in my room:


That's the latest one! She used to draw straight hairs, I noticed this one shows someone with curly hairs!

I taught her to draw human face since she knew how to hold the pen properly while teaching her about parts in our body. She was ok with faces and kept improving, but had problem with the body. She would easily get frustrated and I tried to convince her that it should not be a rush. She has been trying and she drew this yesterday morning. I was on cloud 9!


Hubby thinks her drawings resemble "Sinchan" cartoons and thinks the creator could have been inspired by some little kid's work of art.

Comparing my work with Bea1's, he also concluded that she draws better than I do! Well, I know I don't have the talent but I at least I got a budding artist in the making!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Counting down to D Day (Part 3)

The last 2 images of baby in-utero

Since the sex of the baby is meant to be a surprise, I thought I'd go for unisex colour while shopping for him/her. I saw one I-must-buy cute baby suit (a whole set of jumper, shirt, pants, cap) and it only came in blue and pink. Holding each colour in one hand, I felt like cursing myself for making my life more difficult. So, what the heck...the next check-up, I asked the doc. to get the best shot and shout it to the world!

But according to her, it was already too "cramped" inside as the baby is big, and it was already difficult to see. The hospital that I'm doing my check-ups do not give out print-outs. And I need a few more images of my baby in-utero, and with that excuse I went to do another scan at a clinic near home, and hopefully the baby would cooperate a bit!

The same thing happened, the doc. said can't see a thing! For RM40, I got images of the head (face also could not see) and the femur.


Besides that, she gave me length explanation on the white dots that could be seen in the amniotic fluid indicated that it is "matured", the position of the baby's head, umbilicol cord etc and concluded that everything is just fine!

Looks like I have to be happy with whatever universal colour that I have at the moment. Upon seeing my shopping, hubby asked "Eh....why all red?" to which I answered "Both boy and girl can wear red, right?". Wait till my confinement is over, and I'm back in the shopping mall!

Everything is almost done. Carseat is out from the storage and cleaned, work in the office is endless but I can leave them behind in peace, tonight I will arrange the baby's and the girls' stuffs in storage boxes and prepare the bag to take to the hospital. The plan is all hubby got to do is loading them in the car!

It is so overwhelming! Everything seems to happen so fast, and soon I will have my third baby in my arms.

Coming up next (I mean after the story of the birth etc): Confinement story, Kelantanese_Malay style that has been practised since the late 16th century;)